BK Marcus writes in the Freeman on the statue that inspired the protests in Tiananmen Square. She looked like the Statue of Liberty, but the protestors called her the Goddess of Democracy …
To American eyes, she looked like a Chinese version of the Statue of Liberty, her torch of freedom held aloft over Tiananmen’s huddled masses. The art students who had quickly assembled the foam statue over a bamboo scaffolding had deliberately avoided creating something that seemed “too openly pro-American”—even basing the style on the Cold War art of the Soviet socialist realists—but even with her Chinese features and a two-handed grip on the torch, the comparison with Lady Liberty was unavoidable.
But while the statue in New York Harbor represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, the protestors in Tiananmen Square were worshipping a different deity. They called their statue the Goddess of Democracy.
The tanks rolled in and crushed the goddess beneath their treads, but her symbolic power remains, and her likeness now appears in the form of commemorative statues throughout the world.
The authoritarian state may have won the battle, but the war for freedom lasts longer than our history textbooks would have us believe.
To read more about liberty, democracy, and the mismatch between them, see the complete article over at FEE.org.